I attended Science Online London 2009 yesterday, and was reflecting on how things had moved on since last years' Science Blogging 2008: London. Here are ten things that struck me:
1. The title says a lot: although this year some sessions focussed on blogging, the discussion opened up into a whole raft of issues relating to online communication for scientists.
2. Although Martin Fenner said in his introductory remarks that one topic that had been left out this year was research, it was interesting that research managed to creep in through the back door to many if not most of the sessions -- What Is a Scientific Paper?, Author Identity, Citizen Science, Real-time Statistics, Google Wave.
3. Whereas last year most of the people attending were from academia or Nature, this year there were quite a few company representatives as well, in addition to non-profit institutions--e.g. PLOS and the British Library--as well as a larger number of sponsors.
4. There seemed to be a shift away from a focus on individuals and towards (a) groups, e.g. collaboration between groups, be it about research or general communication, and (b) aggregation, e.g. of data about research habits as well as research data itself.
5. In line with the previous two points, there was a shift to speakers talking not about themselves or being a scientist, but about activities or issues relating to doing science, e.g. scientific papers, online communication about science by institutions, managing online communities, doing research (Google Wave), collecting statistics about research.
6. There was more and better communication with people who were participating but were not physically present -- Second Life, Twitter, etc.
7. This year there was a £10 fee and no breakfast was provided -- so the value for money rating went down from 10 to 9.9!
And there were some things that did not change:
8. The people were friendly, interesting and engaged.
9. The formal sessions and chats between session stimulated lots of interesting thoughts.
10. I came away from this year's meeting just as keen to attend next year's, which you can find out about at http://www.scienceonline2010.com/index.php/wiki/